As live events continue to make their return, those who host, resource or plan events, as well as those who attend them, are facing a new normal. One in which critical health and safety precautions, incisive measurement tools, and a laser-focused attention on individual attendees are helping to satisfy the pent-up demand for real-life experiences. The experiential landscape has been transformed in permanent ways—but this has provided us with an opportunity to make it more engaging, more relevant and more personal than ever.
Here, Limelight’s Ian Richardson, VP of Strategic Partnerships, and Terry Foster, CEO, discuss the key shifts they are already seeing as events make a comeback.
During the pandemic we have been inundated with information around how often we touch surfaces and our faces, and how easy it is to spread disease through these actions. With people less willing to touch objects that others have also touched, we’re seeing fewer touch screens and increased inclusion of voice-user interfaces and facial recognition in our events and activations.
“Our job is to mitigate risk, make people feel comfortable, and ensure that wherever their comfort zone is, there is a solution that meets it,” says Richardson. Where once we relied on facemasks, hand sanitizer and temperature checks for safety, we now add contactless interactions, registration, check in and data collection. By enabling customers to register online before the event, self-assess for Covid and then check themselves in by scanning a QR code via their own mobile device, you’ve suddenly eliminated the need for contact with hundreds of people. Limelight’s software allows you to create an entire registration and check in process that requires no contact between your employees and your event attendees.
Last year, Danielle Zenk-Tills of Push Play Creative anticipated that “[e]xperiential will reconsider how to accommodate personal space and include more small or micro events within events.” Her prediction is now bearing out. “A long-term effect of Covid on the live event industry is that series’ of smaller events are more effective,” says Foster. Venue capacity will depend and change jurisdiction by jurisdiction, but in the U.S, most will be wide-open.
“We’re seeing brands leveraging more of their retail networks,” says Richardson, pointing to financial institutions, automotive showrooms and parent companies’ bricks & mortar infrastructure. “Instead of large events happening in seven different cities with lots of people gathering in a central location, you’re going to see smaller, more intimate activations in 80 different locations.” And this is where the Limelight platform really shines.
“I think the number one thing people want to do with the tech is use it to find out how to take the findings and the data and enhance the experience for next time—as well as during the event itself,” says Foster. By being able to view, measure and compare event data all in one place, the Limelight platform enables companies to set and reset the baseline in real-time. “It allows them to tweak the knobs on what’s not working and double-down on what is.”
The scale strategy described above doesn’t just allow brands to maintain presence, it empowers them to offer more engaging experiences at the individual level—and that can result in lucrative conversion rates. A successful event has relevant content that resonates with attendees and provides plentiful opportunities for valuable engagement, the more tailored, the better. Limelight allows brands the flexibility to take that personalization and that end-to-end digital journey around a live event to the retail network level.
“Instead of talking to three people and playing a numbers game,” says Richardson, “You’re going to speak to one person for longer and create a more substantial connection.”
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, it felt as though the event industry had been decimated overnight. But as we’ve collectively picked up the pieces and planned for the future, many marketers have used this time as an opportunity to rethink their marketing strategy and plan events that could be more imaginative, more entertaining, and more valuable than ever before. As BizBash puts it, “Our industry has been devastated in the short term, but it could be a vital force in planning the future of an even better industry—with more purpose and respect for the power of live gatherings.”
View this infographic to see how Limelight uses mobile devices and QR technology to create an entirely contact-free registration and check-in process.
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